Garlic…a great flavor

Slice a few cloves and put into a bottle of white wine vinegar with some fresh chives and parsley. Let sit for a few days before using.

Salad Dressing: Mix 1 part infused vinegar with 3 parts extra virgin olive oil, add pinch of salt and cracked pepper and some honey for sweetness.

Whether you rule garlic with a gentle or firm hand determines the amount and type of flavor you get. Here are some taste tips:

Gently peel and use cloves whole to impart just a hint of garlic flavor.

Slice cloves lengthwise for mild flavor or for those long-cooking dishes.

Mince cloves for medium flavor or for your quick-cooking dishes.

Firmly push cloves through a garlic press for the strongest flavor. If you don’t have a garlic press, put your knife to work and finely chop the garlic. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the more pungent the flavor. Sprinkle the chopped garlic with a bit of salt, because salt pulls out liquid from the chopped garlic. Then firmly rub the salted chopped garlic with the side of your knife blade, further crushing it.

Garlic needs lots of air circulation to last in storage

Whole bulbs of store-bought garlic will keep for several months or more when stored at room temperature in a dry, dark place that has ample air circulation. Keep in mind, however, that garlic’s lifetime decreases once you start removing cloves from the bulb.

Storing garlic uncovered, such as in a wire-mesh basket inside your cupboard or beneath a small overturned clay pot, is ideal.

You can also store garlic in a paper bag, egg carton, or mesh bag. Just be sure there is plenty of dry air and little light to inhibit sprouting. To avoid mold, do not refrigerate or store garlic in plastic bags.

Peeling Garlic the Easy Way

To easily peel garlic, slice off each end of a clove. Then, turn your broad chef’s knife sideways so the flat side is parallel to your cutting board and the sharp edge is facing away from you. Place your knife this way on top of the clove and give the blade a quick pop with the heel of your hand to lightly crush the garlic clove (you don’t want to mash it). The papery skins then rub off easily.

If you’re going to peel many garlic cloves at once, drop them into boiling water for 10 to 20 seconds. Then plunge them into cold water. The skins will slide right off between your thumb and forefinger.